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Nigerians must allow the love they share abroad resonate at home – Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is worried that the level of love Nigerians abroad share among themselves is not replicated at home, adding that a situation where they are quick to become friends outside and enemies at home, must be stop. The former President, who acknowledged how Nigerians in the diaspora were making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour, told participants at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that Nigerians in the diaspora must conduct themselves as good citizens wherever they domiciled.

Obasanjo, whose views were captured in a statement by, Kehinde Akinyemi, his spokesman, expressed satisfaction over the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, urging them to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back home.

The former President, said to have spoken on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, was quoted as saying: “Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria.”

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BREAKING: Stop these demolitions, you’re killing the people, Obi tells Lagos govt

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A government that has lost the milk of human kindness is not justification to preside over their affairs, Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party’s (LP) in the February 25 election, said on Thursday, in reaction to the ongoing massive demolitions of properties in parts of the country, particularly, Lagos and Abuja, mostly.

While Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had been engaging in some demolitions of buildings contravening the building plans of the city, the more devastating outcomes are being witnessed in Lagos, which seemed to have gone haywire with the bulldozers, which had been pulling down multi-billion structures in high-brow areas.

Alaba International Market, Abule Ado, Lekki and other parts of Lagos, have witnessed some of the onslaughts with the building owners lamenting that in many cases they were given just a few hours to evacuate their properties, a condition which many of them could hardly meet.

Obi, while bemoaning the situation, while pleading with the government to take the suffering of the people into account and approach the issue with human face, said:

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“All government actions must show compassion, even though we should enforce sensible regulations.”

Amid the speculations that some of the victims who come from the South East were being punished for creating the situation, which gave Obi the massive votes in Lagos that made him beat President Bola Tinubu, who governed the state for eight years, and still maintains a stronghold on the political structure of the state, who used his X handle to air his position, on Thursday, advised the government to come up with measures aimed at alleviating the people’s hardships considering the current harsh economic conditions in the country.

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He said, “It’s with complete despondency and unhappiness that I have followed the ongoing demolitions of properties across the country, especially knowing the extra hardship such acts have been heaping on hapless citizens who are already battling with multi-dimensional poverty.

“What a responsive government should be doing under the current harsh economic conditions in the country is to come up with measures aimed at alleviating the people’s hardships and to carry out measures that will take more people out of poverty.

“Even if there are some violations as the governments are claiming, this critical time is not auspicious for such an exercise knowing the hardship in the land and the consequences it will have on the poor who are struggling to make ends meet with their little resources.

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“The poor in our midst who are putting their meager resources are going through very severe financial stress that should not be multiplied further. In some cases, the properties being demolished are the life time savings and retirement abodes of the aged and incapacitated.

“My appeal therefore is for the respective governments involved in this act to consider the hardship in the country and try and put a human face to their actions. While we should enforce sensible regulations, all actions of government must show compassion.”

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It’s Tinubu’s budget of ‘hopelessness and pains,’ prepare for more hardship – PDP

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Nigerians must gird their loins for more suffering with the budget President Bola Tinubu released on Wednesday if allowed to pass, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said, warning the National Assembly not to approve it if they were truly representing the people.

Describing the N27.5 trillion budget for the 2024 fiscal year as deceitful, strangulating, and hopeless, the party in a statement by Debo Ologunagba, its spokesman, said if the budget was allowed to pass, it will further plunge the nation into more economic depression and hopelessness.

Stating that NASS must activate its mandate to the constitution under Sections 80, 81, and 82 of the 1999 Constitution, to reject the 2024 budget as presented, he said: “The PDP calls on the National Assembly pursuant to its Constitutional duty under Section 80, 81 and 82 of the 1999 Constitution to reject the 2024 budget as presented and use its legislative powers to disassemble the budget and make provisions that are critical and pivotal to the growth of the economy and the welfare of Nigerians,” the party said.

Ologunagba, while stressing that the document was devoid of concrete mechanisms to revive the economy, create jobs, address the comatose manufacturing and productive sectors, human capital development deficiencies, and depleting the life expectancy of Nigerian citizens, alleged that it was filled with heavily padded figures, duplicated items, and several false statistics, including claims of global increase in the inflation rate.

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The PDP National Publicity Secretary declared that the budget is predicated and expected to be funded from multilateral and bilateral foreign loans and increased taxes on Nigerians and is designed to further mortgage the nation and strangulate the already impoverished Nigerians.

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No room for corruption in Abuja anymore – Wike * Says, Abuja metro ready in six months

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Anybody planning how to skew the process for personal advantage, would discover the hard way that there is a new sheriff in town and it would no longer be business as usual, Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said on Wednesday.

Wike, former Governor of Rivers State and the only Minister of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or member of the opposition in the cabinet of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made this solemn declaration on the floor of the National Assembly, where he presented and defended a N61billion supplemental budget for the year 2023.

The Minister, whose is presenting the fresh estimates one month to the end of 2023, said components of the proposal, were projects-specific, added that President Bola Tinubu would commission most of them including the Abuja Metroline by May as part of activities marking the president’s one year in office.

According to him, the N61 billion FCT Supplementary Budget was drawn from its Paris Club refund, PAYE, the N5billion special presidential intervention for states, the presidential infrastructure support funds and the territory’s Internally Generated Revenue IGR.

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For instance, Wike, who assured that the President would commission the metro line by May adding that part of the project, which would ease the movement of the people in the capital, was already contained in the national budget, presented by Tinubu on the same day.

Wike, who also spoke on the fate of victims of the administration’s demolition exercises, blamed them  for the situation, saying there was no way that the desire of a world-class Federal Capital Territory by Nigerians could materialise with those entrusted with making it happen engaging in excuses for unplanned and illegal developments.

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Noting that demolitions could not be stopped as long as people continue to build on green areas, water and sewage lines and other unapproved places, he said the Administration would however pay compensation in areas designated for resettlement.

He said: “We can’t stop demolitions. You cannot go and build in a green area and then when we demolish, you want us to compensate you. Illegality is illegality. But if we want to acquire your property for development, we will pay you.”

Wike, who justified his decision to engage Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to help handle cases involving the Administration, lamented that the lack of diligent prosecution of cases in the past by FCT officials led to the loss of a number of cases, adding that over 800 litigations involving the FCT, were currently pending in various courts.

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Wike, who also alleged complicity on the part of some officials who connived with plaintiffs to get judgments against the FCT Administration, he said: “I have never seen a territory with over 800 litigations. Some of these litigations were in connivance with staff of the FCT. So, I said I will engage SANs because I don’t want a situation whereby someone will go to court and then agree with the plaintiffs and judgment is entered against the FCT.”

Revealing that his administration would revive the city’s mass transit system to eliminate cases of “one chance”, adding that private operators would undergo security vetting before being allowed into the system, he added that he was working with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Department of State Services (DSS) with regards to providing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in strategic parts of the city.

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Accusing some of his staff of using some Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) entered into by the FCT with some private developers, to fleece the administration, he vowed to cancel the contracts, adding: “I will cancel several PPPs. All the PPPs in Abuja are about land and are against the FCT.”

Citing a case in Wassa where the FCT gave a developer land for mass housing, and gave him another N85billion for infrastructure, he lamented a situation where the same developer would go and build houses, and sell to people at market value without anything coming to the government.

On the recertification of all Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os,) he said: “All C of Os will be recertified and you will put your NIN. In FCT, there are a lot of fake C of Os but with this new development, we will end that and security-wise, we can know people who own each structure. If you have a C of Os and you have enjoyed recertified, it will no longer be valid,” he stated.

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Chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Muktar Betara lauded the minister for his passion for developing the territory, however urged him to reconsider the uniform fees for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, saying highbrow areas like Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse and others cannot have the same fees with the satellite towns.

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